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Angels have been featured in literature, artwork, and films. But who are the angels, and what role do they play?

Who are the angels?



Before God created the physical universe and the first humans, he had already created a higher order of intelligent creatures. They are more powerful than humans, and they inhabit the same realm as God himself​—a realm inaccessible and invisible to mankind. (Job 38:4, 7) The Bible calls those superior beings “spirits” and “angels.”​—Psalm 104:4. *

How many angels exist? A huge number. The angels around God’s throne number “myriads of myriads,” or “tens of thousands times tens of thousands.” (Revelation 5:11; footnote) If this expression is to be taken in its literal sense, then the angels number into the hundreds of millions!

“I saw . . . many angels around the throne . . . , and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands.”​—Revelation 5:11.

What did angels do in ancient times?



Angels often served as God’s spokespersons or messengers. * They are also portrayed in the Bible as carrying out God’s miraculous works. God sent an angel to bless Abraham and prevent him from sacrificing his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:11-18) An angel appeared to Moses in the midst of a burning bush to deliver a life-changing message. (Exodus 3:1, 2) When the prophet Daniel was thrown into a pit of lions, “God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions.”​—Daniel 6:22.

“Then Jehovah’s angel appeared to [Moses] in a flame of fire in the midst of a thornbush.”​—Exodus 3:2.

 What are angels doing now?



We cannot know all that the angels are doing today. However, the Bible indicates that they are involved in helping sincere people come to know more about God.​—Acts 8:26-35; 10:1-22; Revelation 14:6, 7.

Jehovah gave the patriarch Jacob a dream in which he saw angels ascending and descending a “stairway” between heaven and earth. (Genesis 28:10-12) Jacob probably concluded from that dream what we too can conclude​—that Jehovah God dispatches the angels to the earth on missions, to act in behalf of loyal humans who are in need of his assistance.​—Genesis 24:40; Exodus 14:19; Psalm 34:7.

“There was a stairway set on the earth, and its top reached up to the heavens; and there were God’s angels ascending and descending on it.”​—Genesis 28:12.

^ par. 6 The Bible reveals that some spirits rebelled against God’s authority, and it calls these wicked angels “demons.”​—Luke 10:17-20.

^ par. 11 In fact, the original Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible for “angel” both mean “messenger.”